As of 2018, the smart agro industry has grown by nearly 6% y-o-y and by the end of 2026, the market is expected to reach above $10 billion mark i.e. 4 times more than that in 2018
- Definition / Scope
- Market Overview
- Top Market Opportunities
- Market Trends
- Technology Trends
- Pricing Trends
- Regulatory Trends
- Other Key Market Trends
- Market Size and Forecast
- Market Outlook
- Technology Roadmap
- Distribution Chain Analysis
- Competitive Factors
- Key Market Players
- Strategic Conclusion
Definition / Scope
- The smart agriculture is a concept where several next-generation technologies are utilized in agriculture sector to boost the productivity and to meet the population demand for food. The smart agriculture mostly uses IoT based advance technologies and solutions to maximize yield and minimize wastage through real-time data collection, analysis and deployment of control mechanism. The technologies are either in form of hardware or software applications and are diverse such as variable rate technology, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouse among others and will be responsible in enrichment of agricultural processes.
- Some of the major smart agricultural technology applications include:
- Precision Farming: The approach is where IoT & Communication technologies are utilized for farm management, optimizing returns and conservation of resources. The supplication allows to gain real-time insights on crops, soil and air conditions.
- Variable Rate Technology (VRT): It denotes a technology that enables producers to vary the rate of crop inputs. The only challenge with the technology is lack of standardization and interoperability.
- Smart Irrigation: To improve the efficiency in irrigation processes and control the water losses caused in traditional process, the awareness of smart irrigation is on rise. IoT based smart irrigation systems are available in the market that can measure various metrics such as humidity, soil moisture, temperature and light intensity to calculate precise amounts of water.
- Agriculture Drones: These are also known as, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and are leveraged across multiple areas including, monitoring crop health, and agriculture photography for site specific development, variable rate applications, and livestock management. These technologies can track vast area at low cost and utilize sensors to gain wide rand of information.
- Smart Greenhouse: The smart greenhouse lets farmers to foster crops without human intervention. Needful climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity, luminosity, and soil moisture are uninterruptedly supervised inside a greenhouse. After that, variations in conditions will automatically trigger corrective actions to maintain an optimal environment for the plant to thrive.
- Yield Monitoring: It is the mechanism to monitor various aspects equivalent to agricultural yield such as grain mass flow, moisture content, and total quantity of harvested grain. The technology offers real-time information through data analytics to make supportive decisions.
- Farm Management Systems (FMSs): FMSs support farmers with information gathering and management with the use of diverse sensors and tracking devices. The information retrieved is then stored and analyzed for conducting intricate tasks. Other advantages of the system are consistent production data management and improvement in risk mitigation capabilities regarding unanticipated weather conditions.
- Soil Monitoring Systems: The system is entirely dedicated in understanding the present condition of soil and improving its quality to mitigate degradation. A number of factors are determined such as texture, water-holding capacity and the absorption rate. The technology is utilized to prevent the soil from different conditions such as erosion, densification, salinization, and pollution by toxic elements.
- Precision Livestock Farming: It is as same as precision farming but dedicated exclusively to livestock management. The technology allows monitoring of production, health and welfare of livestock and ensures maximum yield. It also gives insights to improve animal health through effective decision making.
As of 2018, the smart agro industry has grown by nearly 6% y-o-y and by the end of 2026, the market is expected to reach above $10 billion mark i.e. 4 times more than that in 2018. Among the software and hardware solutions, the hardware segment of the industry is going to encounter growth accounting up to 50% of the total market share by 2026.
Besides productivity, gaining efficiency is another major goal of smart agriculture and to attain these goals, IoT is creating significant impact in the sector.
By 2025, more than 75 million IoT devices will be installed which is 150% rise from the 30 million in 2015. Along with IoT another technology that is bringing transformation to the industry is big data analytics where the expected data in agriculture is expected to be around 4 million up from only 0.5 million in 2017.
Much focus is being driven to smart water management as 70% of the total fresh water supply in the world is used by agricultural sector. The smart farming initiatives around the world is helping to reduce total amount of water required in a farm as much by 8%. In addition, the technology has also helped in bringing down per acre energy costs by nearly $6 as well.
In 2018, North America with $5 billion smart agriculture market was the global leader. Between 2018-2026 period, the market is likely to grow at 10% reaching $16 billion.
Besides North America, APAC region is also expected to rise at 13.7% during same period and other Latin American countries are expected to grow at more than 12%. Europe, Africa and Middle East are also found to have increased smart farming initiatives in their regions.
The agricultural technology startups all around the world have increased more than 80% annually since 2012. These agritech startups are booming all over the world and investors are aggressively investing in the newly formed sector. Some of the world business leaders such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Jack & Suzy Welch in collaboration with VC find known as DFJ and Conglomerate Cargill have invested in Memphis Meats- a clean meat company.
In Asia, the SoftBank vision Fund under the ownership of Japanese Billionaire Masayoshi Son is also investing $200 million into vertical indoor farming company called Plenty; other participants in the funding include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt.
Other notable investments include, IKEA, David Chang and Ruler of Dubai together are investing around $40 million for a project called AeroFarms vertical farming.
Top Market Opportunities
Smartphone expansion and internet penetration: The farmers associated with the smart agricultural industry generally dependent on smartphones and similar intelligent mediums to keep-up-to-date about the latest progress in the agricultural sector.
As farmers are also using broadband and wireless technologies to stay updated and participate in government/industry led initiatives, the smartphone sellers and ISP companies have huge opportunity to support the smart agricultural practices by serving as a medium for the end-users to operate through.
In addition, by use of internet farmers are able to get access to agricultural institutes such as Agricultural Learning Repositories Task Force. Thus, smart agricultural practices are further enhanced by the use of smartphones and internet.
Increasing public & private partnerships: All around the world, government, agricultural development authorities, research and academic institutes, agro-processing organizations and financial institutions are forming corporations to grow sustainable agricultural initiatives with focus on smart technologies.
With these initiatives, farmers are able to increase productivity, food security and efficiency of agricultural processes. Not only a platform, but these partnerships are providing access & knowledge to utilize technologies efficiently, providing management & consulting services and providing new revenue streams.
Thus, with such partnerships all the participants of the smart agricultural market have the opportunity to adopt IoT and make the optimal use of the technology to earn profits and productivity.
Change in climate/global warming: Global warming is at its peak in the present and this trend is most likely to impact the agricultural production in a negative way. For instance, in Brazil, the Mato Grosso issue is going to affect global agricultural zone that could lead to 18% to 23% deterioration in production of soy and corn by 2050.
Further, the Midwest US and Easter Austrlian regions are also expected to encounter extreme heat due to which agricultural production will fall. Altogether, these critical weather conditions are likely to drive the usage of IoT solutions across agriculture and increase the yield & production.
Water conservation need: The agriculture sector consumes upto 70% of fresh water. The water scarcity one of the few crisis that is afflicting the globe which is why the optimal utilization of water for agricultural activities is one of the major issues to be solved.
Applications of smart manufacturing such as smart irrigation systems are some of the ways to save water in agricultural applications. Thus, leveraging IoT for water conservation is likely to be one of the major areas of scope in near future of smart agriculture.
Increasing adoption/preference: Farmers all around the world are turning towards minimizing their costs and willing to adopt smart agricultural techniques to increase productivity and return.
These smart agricultural technologies are helping farmers to improve various agricultural resources such as fertilizers, pesticides and seed along with labor.
In addition, the technologies also reduce energy and fuel consumption. As the benefits of the smart ag technology is so diverse and encompassing, the farmers are achieving their goal of optimized production which in turn is creating awareness and adoption of smart agricultural practices.
Fragmented market landscape: The global agricultural sector is not dominated by few players but is proliferated with multiple small scale players that are offering solutions across various stages of value chain of the agricultural sector.
However, for farmers this is not beneficial as acquiring one solution/application pertaining to only a part of agricultural process will limit their ROI and have difficulty in obtaining economies of scale which makes them switch back to traditional practices.
Lack of connecting services: The networking or connection aspect of the agricultural industry has not been as mature as that of other counterpart verticals such as retail or automotive. The network providers are interested in expanding services to agricultural sector by partnering with other players which surely is a major challenge to be addressed.
Data management and decision making: It is one of the major issues in the smart agriculture market where data aggregation and management are posing some serious problems for the decision makers. The major obstacle is the efficient use of data as there is no proper standards documented for data management applications in smart-agtech based solutions. In addition, the operations are not uniform because of lack of data management system.
IoT and sensors in the Field: In the agriculture industry, IoT is becoming the pioneer technology to transform the processes and output. Within agriculture, food sector stores immense potential for IoT. Around the world, IoT alone stores $14.4 trillion of value in agriculture.
The IoT is enabling the streamlined collection, inspection and overall distribution of agricultural resources suing sensors on equipment and materials. The sensors have strategic application in fields along with image recognition technologies that are allowing farmers to view their crops real-time from a remote location.
These sensors are in turn providing information to farmers so that changes can be made timely. In larger scale, this particular application has the potential to create high food production with lower wastage.
IoT and sensors in equipment: Similar to its application in field, IoT and sensors are also being utilized across agricultural equipment/machines to understand the health of machine. With the precision agriculture term, farming equipments and navigation systems are being built with sensors.
The sensors are so advance that, it has the capability to run over uneven terrain using GPS. Some of the sensors are also built for yield mapping and harvest documentation among others. Overall, these sensors are enabling smooth machine experience.
Drones and crop monitoring: Farmers generally work in fields that stretch into hundreds of acres which requires them to have bird’s eye view from a plane. Thus, drones are enabling it by giving the farmers ability to visualize their crops using an aerial source.
These drone equipments are being used to monitor crop and are already being used in countries such as US. Not only crop monitoring, drones also enable means to combat drought and other environmental factors by notifying about them in advance. These drones also produce 3D imaging which can be used to predict soil quality through analysis and planning seed planting patterns.
Other applications of drone include, spray chemical on crops while not penetrating groundwater. The drones can also increase speed of spraying five times compared to other types of machinery which saves time.
Robotics in agriculture: The use of robotics across the agricultural industry is also expected to improve productivity in process and result to higher, faster yields. The spraying and weeding robots offered by companies such as John Deere is able to reduce agrochemical use by 90%.
With more proliferation of such robots in the market, the end users are likely to turn towards robotics rather than agrochemicals. Other robotics venture companies are also researching on laser and camera guidance for identifying and removing weed without human reliance.
Other companies in the market are also creating transplanting robots which is expected to add efficiency to traditional methods in agriculture/planting and finally, automation is also being tested for fruit packing and nut harvesting.
RFID sensors and tracking: These sensors are applied to track food across the entire value chain of the agriculture business. From the field to store, the end user will be able to follow detailed information of food they consume, about distributor, wholesaler and location it belonged to.
The technology could help the manufacturer gain good reputation among consumers and also enhance their responsibility to provide fresh goods. Another application of the RFID is that it can easily identify outbreaks, in case all crops are equipped with RFID chips. This is however, in an experimenting phase for now.
Machine learning and data analytics: The machine learning application is used to mine data for identifying trends in the agricultural process. The analytics starts with planting of seed, with plant breeders. ML can identify which genes will be best for crop production and provide farmers all over the world the best breed for their location.
Another application is likely to be in manufacturing where consumers purchase various products and algorithms can be used to gain insights in which products are selling high and products that are failing. This helps to create effective forecasts for future of farming.
In India, the government has announced a multi-billion dollar scheme that intends to implement solarisation of farm irrigation on a national level. The scheme which was introduced in the 2018 Union budget of the country is called ‘Kisan Urja Surakhsha Evam, Utthaan Mahaaabhiyan’ (KUSUM).
The total allocation for the project made by the government is $21.8 billion and the initial phase will involve building 10,000 MW of solar plants on barren lands, providing 1.75 million off grid agricultural solar pumps. The first solar pump is set to be established in a state called Gujarat.
In addition, the state government of Gujarat will also felicitate the solar cooperative members with certificate of appreciation, the head government is further encouraging other state governments to put a mechanism in place that their solar power to be purchased by the distribution companies or licensees at reasonably remunerative rates.
In Australia, government is providing grants- small grants up to $50 million and could go up to $200,000. These grants are provided to individuals that undertake sustainable agriculture projects and also go by best practices in agriculture such as effective resource management.
The aim of government in Australia is to promote sustainable, productive and profitable agriculture through smart technologies. Further, the government has allocated $134 million for smart farms to support the development of best practices in farming using advance technologies.
The program is set to run for over six years- (2017-2023). Similarly for larger innovative projects in smart farming, the government is also set to provide grants up to $4 million depending on amount of R&D expenses in research.
In Germany, the government is looking forward to improve infrastructure for ideas to transition into startups. The early stage funding and incubation for the startups are few areas of focus for the government. Some of the grants provided by the government include, The Exist Business startup grant which is supporting students, graduates and scientists from universities and research institutions are also looking to turn their ideas into businesses.
The German Ministry of Agriculture and Food (BEML) also caters a funding scheme called DIP. This program offers grants to those Agtech startups that are aligned to UN sustainable goals. In addition, BMEL is also supporting companies that are involved in precision farming through digitalization.
In Brazil, the government has introduced a new program called MAIS Program (Modulo Agroclimatico Inteligente e Sustentavel) and is the first climate smart agriculture program to introduce disruptive technologies in farming in a good way.
The program helps farmers involved in innovative practices around animal nutrition, farm management, and food & water security, restoration of degraded pastureland soil among others. Since its inception, the program is already engaged with 650 farmers.
The program has increased farmers’ dairy production by 63% and income by almost 204%.
Other Key Market Trends
- Ag tech arrival: The technology in agriculture is being applied in profoundly new ways across several areas: in the field, around the farm, for raising animals, all the way across the farming supply chain. One of the traditional Agtech, crop biotech is continuing to advance and procreating new types of seeds, traits, more effective crop protection and enhancement chemicals among others. Around the world, since 2013, Agtech are growing at an annual average rate of 73% with total investment of $3.2 billion in 2018. Some of the Ag tech investments have been made in various segments that include:
- Precision/prescriptive agricultural technologies: Together, software, data and equipments are giving insights into field and crop health data that helps enable yield improvements and provides intelligence to assist application of fertilizers and chemicals.
- Indoor growing technologies: Advances in technologies such as next-gen hydroponics to “vertical” farming particularly for produce/greens are being made all across the world.
- Animal protein: The technology is being applied for developments in animal breeding, nutrition and health in number of ways. The animal protein producers are utilizing technology in new ways to monitor animal health and also track and enhance production process.
- Meat replacements: The rising consumer preference for no animal sources of protein is growing around the world, so to meet the demand, technology is driving advancements in meat replacements which are produced through innovative and still very expensive cell tissue culture technologies that are yet to be commercialized in the market. Some of the companies behind such technologies are Beyond Meat and Memphis Meats and have been able to gain significant investment from major companies such as Tyson Foods & Cargill.
- Food safety: To address the problems of food safety concerns and public enquiry, major food retailers around the world are using technology to improve the management of food safety issues and also track the origin of food products backwards in the supply chain.
Market Size and Forecast
- As of 2018, the market size of smart agro industry was estimated to be approximately $6.8 billion with a CAGR of 13.09% during the period 2019-2025 and market size reaching $15.3 billion by 2025.
- On the basis of smart agriculture type, precision farming accounted 49% of the share i.e. $2.9 billion market size in 2018 and is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 13% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of software, web based software accounted highest market share with around 58% of the market share in 2018 ($3.48 billion) and is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of service, system integration and consulting accounted highest market share with around 31.5% of the market share in 2018 ($1.8 billion) and is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 14% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of solution, network management accounted highest market share with around 28.41% of the market share in 2018 ($1.7 billion) and is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.71% over the forecast period.
- According the revenue, the regional analysis of smart agro market are as follows:
- Asia-pacific: As of 2018, the smart agro market revenues of the region amounts to $4.7 billion which is 78.2% of the worldwide revenues.
- North America: The region is third largest in terms of revenues earned where in 2018, the revenues of the region was valued at $2.6 billion.
- Europe: In 2018, the smart agro revenues of the region was estimated to be around $3.4 billion making it the second largest region.
- Latin America: As of 2018, the smart agro market revenues of the region is at $1.3 billion making it fourth largest region in the world.
- ROW (Rest of the World): In 2018, the smart agro market revenues of the rest of the world expect four regions mentioned above was limited to just $1.6 billion.
- The worldwide revenues of smart agro is expected to reach $15.3 billion by 2025 registering growth rate of 13.09% since 2018.
- According to segmentation of smart agro industry, the outlook of the technology around the world is as follows:
- On the basis of smart agriculture type, precision farming market size is expected to reach $ 5.53 billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 13% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of software, web based software market size is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 12% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of service, system irrigation and consulting market size is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 14% over the forecast period.
- On the basis of solution, network management market size is expected to reach $3.3 billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 13.71% over the forecast period.
- According to regional analysis, outlook of top three growing regions in the smart agro technology market around the world is as follows:
- The growth rate of revenues during 2019-2025 period is 13.77% for Asia Pacific region reaching $9.2 billion by 2025.
- The CAGR for the North America during 2018-2025 is 12.77% where the market is likely to reach $4.9 billion by the end of 2025*
- Across the European region, the growth rate of revenues is registered at 13.42% during 2018-2025 period with values reaching $6.9 billion by 2025 end.
Blockchain: The technology is sure to have future applications in agriculture where it could drastically ensure food safety, farmer pay and transaction times by reducing fraud and inefficiencies. The technology can also reduce wastes by detecting bottlenecks in supply chain that are contributing to food spoilage.
At present, media news is filled with cases of wrong labeling. If blockchain is paired with IoT, the entire supply chain participants including farmers, suppliers and manufacturers can be effectively tracked.
Another possible application of the blockchain technology could be preventing price extortion and delayed payments as well as elimination of brokers and also reducing the transaction fees. Thus, fairer price establishment can help farmers receive good return for their crop value.
3D printing technology: The technology is already prominent in manufacturing industry and is now being leveraged in food production. 3D printing also known as additive manufacturing is being utilized to replace base ingredients of food with renewables like algae, duckweed and grass.
For instance, the technology is currently in testing phase where Netherland Organization of Applied Scientific Research is developing printing methods for microalgae, a natural source of protein, carbohydrates, pigments and anti-oxidants turning these ingredients into edible food such as carrots.
However, in future after the technology is commercialized in the market, the most likely application demand of 3D printing would be for the meat substitutes.
Distribution Chain Analysis
All the members in different stages of the value chain of smart agricultural industry, from smartphone manufacturers to system integrators contribute to deployment of IoT and technological services in smart agriculture.
The different stakeholders in smart agriculture value chain include, device and equipment manufacturers, connectivity providers, application providers, hosting and analytic service providers, wireless connectivity providers, mobile operators, and system integrators.
Firstly, information from the farm fields is collected through sensors and transmitted via network providers (LPWA and mobile operators). Next, the information is passed on to system integrators and solution providers that will process the data through analytics and communicate insight/results to the end users via mobile or web applications.
Some of the major system integrators in the market are IBM, Agribotix, Accenture, Logica, Trimble, and Navcom. These companies play a major role in integration of software and hardware of the farm equipments.
The telecom plays a major role in providing connectivity, however at present the service is limited to only one proportion of the smart agricultural market. The telecom operators are providing high end to end solutions such as provisioning, authentication, security, billing, device management, location-based services, application enablement, and analytic services in smart agriculture and not just connectivity services.
And finally, for mobile operators, collaboration with device manufacturers, application solution providers and ISP companies is enabling them to enter deeper into the industry and increase their market share.
In Australia based company called Sundrop has developed a sea water hydroponics technology that works by combining agriculture, solar and distillation to grow plants in any region. Its seawater greenhouse can be formed anywhere to grow plants. The technology used by the company does not require land or fossil fuels that makes it sustainable in long term.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Sudi Arabia is researching on the potential of desert agriculture.
The initiative is further focused on solving the challenges that agriculture in desert is likely to bring. Both biotic and abiotic factors are being considered for the research where biotic factors include, genome engineering technologies to manipulate biological characteristics of plants.
Further, KAUST is also seeking to identify other factors such as identifying mechanisms to enable plants to grow in extreme environmental conditions.
TIPA, a sustainable packaging company based in India is creating packaging solutions made up of components that are like fruits and vegetables which can decompose easily in the soil and doesn’t leave any toxic residue. The company is focused on advance plastic packaging which are as ordinary plastics in terms of reliability but then can easily return to soil and doesn’t become part of waste streams.
US based AeroFarms have been building and operating indoor farms that grow nutritious and safe foods. The company currently leads in high tech, data driven vertical farming solutions. The farming yields produced from such method is 390 times higher than that of traditional method.
As products are locally grown they remain fresh for longer time. The company is sure to gain high returns on its investments as the process require 95% less water, less nutritional supplements and pesticides to boost productivity.
In Netherlands, MosaMeat is one of the few companies in the world to leverage a technology called CRISPR (Clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat) that has the ability to create breeds with improved yields and resistance to adverse conditions.
The technology is also allowing the generation of engineered animal food products. MosaMeat is currently working on developing cultured ground meat which the company aims to commercialize in few years of time.
Key Market Players
According to the revenues top 8 smart agriculture companies are as follows:
- Ag Leader Technology Inc.
- Ag Junction LLC
- Raven Industries Inc.
- Precision Planting LLC.
- SemiosBio Technologies Inc.
- SST Development GroupInc.
- The Climate Corporation
Around the world, there are 10 Agtech companies that are dedicated in making agriculture smarter than ever and these companies are as follows:
- Cowlar: It is a smart wearable Agtech company that has innovated smart collars for cows. The wearable gives insights on the overall health of the cattle and allows the rancher to improve the conditions by adjusting diet and living conditions. The wearable is water resistant and durable to enable accurate information
- HerDogg: It is an eartag creator which is used to understand the livestock and their conditions. The technology works in three stages: first the tag collects and stores data, then the information is aggregated and then finally uploaded to the cloud where data is analyzed and turned into an easy to digest display.
- Hortau: It runs on wireless soil and irrigation management platform. The hortau application integrates with the ST Field monitors and connects to the irrigation infrastructure to perform tasks such as initiating pumps on-demand, based on schedule and soil conditions.
- FieldIn: It is an application software that works along with field sensors to provide farm workers actionable insights into farm’s operation. The information is high-level of detailed overview and with the insight, all the farms assets are able to be tracked easily.
- Pycno: It deals in wireless, modular soil sensors that is used in determining soil needs so that farmers can use only fertilizers and other additives they need in order to reduce wastes.
- The Yeild: It offers a free app that helps the users (mostly farmers) remain aware about whether conditions that are likely to occur such as rainfall or evotranspiration.
- Agrosmart: The technology company is helping farmers identify and deal with upto 10 environmental conditions so that they can make decisions about how to allocate their resources and deal with the pests.
- Grownetics: The Company supports in installation of indoor crop monitoring equipment to maximize growing efficiency and also uses fog networking to ensure all sensors remain functional even at times when there is no internet connection.
- Amber Agriculture: The application assures farmers to manage their stored crops well so that they can receive maximum price per unit sales. The solution provides farmers to store crops optimally after harvesting. At present, the company is at pilot phase but are not launched in the market yet.
- SciCrop: The technology focuses on big data and smart farming technology into actionable dashboard of information. All the features are data driven and in real-time to enable best performance.
- MotorLeaf: It is an IoT platform for managing benefit & safety of crops. The platform ensures favorable environment for the crops automatically.
The major players operating in the smart agro market are increasing their product launch activities rapidly into niche segments and are generating public awareness regarding the new products and technologies to compete with the competitors in market landscape.
In addition, partnerships and collaborations strategies are being employed for expansion of smart farming market. Thus, companies existing in the market must come up with compelling and collaborative strategies with other agricultural OEM’s to sustain in intensely competitive market.
Agtech – Agricultural Technology